Friday, October 3, 2008

Fair Trade: Cruise Ship Edition

On vacation with my wife, I managed to get some reading done, as we both enjoy laying out on the pool deck and enjoying a good book.  Of course, the majority of mine were of the 4 Color variety.  

Superman: For All Seasons -- Jeph Loeb and Time Sale present a story of Clark Kent's coming of age in Smallville as well as Metropolis, in a sort of "Siegel And Shuster Meet Rockwell" take on the Man Of Steel.  Poignant and touching, with several splash pages by Sale which really drive home the emotional hits.  I picked this up right before my wedding (like, a few hours before) and was glad I did, as both myself and my wife (a Smallville fan) really enjoyed this one, and it's palatable enough for even casual fans to enjoy.

Dr. Fate: Countdown to Mystery -- I had started buying this series as single issues but ultimately had to drop it due to financial reasons (as well as a real, palatable disinterest in the Jeanclipso backup stories), so I knew what to expect from the beginning of this trade.  But the late, great Steve Gerber was never one to be predictable, and this story is the most creative Dr. Fate story I have ever read -- maybe the most creative Dr. Fate story ever written.  Justiano's art is well suited to the mystical and everyday goings-on, as well.  The last issue, written as four potential endings by four different writer friends of Gerber after he died, are all plausible in their own way and all a little sad, given the homages to one of the greats.  This one is a definite pick-up for DC fans.

Hawkman: Allies & Enemies -- You'll see the issues contained in this trade featured over on Being Carter Hall, but by way of a review, this is a another excellent volume of Geoff Johns and David Goyer's re-invention of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, mixing new elements and old concepts to create compelling, satisfying superhero comics.  And Rags Morales can draw the Hawks any time he wants to, as far as I am concerned.  I may be biased, but this was a tremendously cool book.  Plus: The Gentleman Ghost!

Murder Me Dead -- David Lapham's love letter to film noir is every bit as stark, harsh, and unblinking as the cinematic genre.  When socialite Eve Kroft is found dead in her home -- an apparent suicide -- it sets into motion a complex series of events for her ambivalent widower Steven, a jazz pianist, as he deals with the guilt over her death, the suspicions cast upon him, and the reappearance of an old school chum which drives him to seek out his high school sweetheart, who now runs with a rougher crowd.  Lapham's artwork is clean and simple, a perfect medium for the complicated, shady characters who inhabit it.  The story is pure noir, from the opening mystery to the downbeat, non-resolution ending.  I found this one on the cheap last year but this is a tremendously engrossing noir mystery which I heartily recommend to genre fans.

(Things are still hectic here with getting caught back up with work and the house, so I am hoping to be back on a normal schedule soon.  Sorry for the inconvenience, folks!)

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